Baneberry

Monday, August 27, 2018

While exploring Altona Forest we found two different types of Baneberry plants growing within a few feet of each other.  The White Baneberry  or White Cohosh is also known as Dolls Eyes because of the black stigma scar on the end of the berry.  The entire plant is considered toxic to humans.  Ingestion of as few as six berries can cause cardiac arrest and death in an adult.  A child may not survive after eating as little as two berries.  Birds can eat the berries and disperse the seeds through their droppings.

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The Red Banberry has a much thinner pedicel or stem on which the berries grow.  The berries start off green but turn red when they ripen.  Each berry contains several seeds.  The Red Baneberry plant and berries are poisonous as well.  A member of the Baneberry family that has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries is Black Cohosh which has been used to treat women’s gynecological disorders.

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Watch for more on Altona Forest in a future post.

Google Maps Link: Altona Forest

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